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For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 24, 2000
Contact:Darrell S. Pressley, 781-338-3126

Education Commissioner Encourages Families to Take Advantage of Free or Low-Cost Advanced Placement Opportunity for Students

Malden - Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll announced today that he is encouraging low-income families to take advantage of an award Massachusetts has received for their students to take Advanced Placement courses and exams.

Massachusetts recently received an award of over half a million dollars from the United States Department of Education to give 3,000 more low-income students the opportunity to take Advanced Placement courses and exams, and to support teachers trained to lead AP courses. While students from low-income families make up 25 percent of the student population in Massachusetts, they only account for five percent of those enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and participate in AP exams.

This week, Commissioner Driscoll sent letters to superintendents and school administrators, asking them to encourage parents and students to take advantage of the Advanced Placement fee reduction program. The Commissioner noted in the letter that, "High school students may be reluctant to apply for the fee reduction program because it requires providing documentation of their family's financial status; therefore it is important that you assure your students that all family income information will remain confidential."

Advanced Placement exam fees for income eligible students will drop from $77 to $15, and in some cases, the tests will be free of charge. Also, Massachusetts will use its grants to support new and veteran teachers of Advanced Placement courses who will receive professional development at AP summer institutes and training sessions throughout the school year.

Advanced Placement courses allow students to do college-level work in high school, and to gain valuable skills and study habits for college. With more than 30 AP classes available, students can strengthen critical thinking and reading skills, along with developing new insights and interests. If a "qualifying" grade on the AP Exam is earned, there are colleges worldwide that will give credit or advanced placement to students.

For more information on the Advanced Placement Program, visit the Department of Education website.

Last Updated: August 24, 2000
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